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220 - 470 AGE OF AMORAIM

Expounders of the Mishna (also called the Talmud or the Gemara). The Talmud is comprised of both the Mishna and the commentary of the Amoraim. This commentary includes both Halacha (law) and Agadah or Hagaddah (legends). The latter was designed for spiritual and moral education and consists of parables, fables, folklore and historical anecdotes. Academies were established and served as the focal point of Jewish life, while preparing for religious survival in the Diaspora. The commentary of the Amoraim was written in Aramaic, the common language of the area.


220 END OF THE AGE OF MISHNAIC ERA

Was marked by the death of Judah HaNasi. Known as the age of the Tannaim, this age commenced with Hillel the Elder around the beginning of the Common Era. The actual compilation of the Talmud began in 135 in the aftermath of the Bar Kochba revolt, and in response to the fear that the Oral Law may be forgotten. The Mishna itself is a compilation of Oral Law which serves as a second teaching of the Bible. According to rabbinic sources, this Oral Law was given to Moshe at Mt. Sinai and passed down from generation to generation. It is divided into six "orders": Zeraim (Seeds), Mo'ed (Festivals), Nashim (Women), Nezikim (Damages), Kedushim (Holy Matters) and Taharot (Purity). There are a total of 63 tractates. It was compiled in concise Hebrew and was intended to be memorized. The Mishna and the later Talmud (Gemara) served and still serves as a code for regulation of all Jewish life.


222 - 235 ALEXANDER SEVERUS (Roman Empire)

Reigned as emperor. His respect for Judaism enabled Judah II (President of the Sanhedrin - the Jewish Supreme Court located in Eretz Israel), to obtain a revival of Jewish rights, including permission to visit Jerusalem.


226 - 691 SASSANIDS (Neo-Persian) EMPIRE IN BABYLON

Founded by Ardusher I (Artaxerxes)(r.224-241). Despite occasional outbursts of Zoroaster fanaticism and persecution, Jews were welcomed by Ardusher and Jewish schools of learning were encouraged. This open atmosphere helped create the great centers of Torah study.




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